Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Editorials Against EFCA

In the last few years the editorial boards of over 100 newspapers have editorialized against the deceptively-named Employee Free Choice Act. During that time, only three papers (by our count) have favored the bill.

Most editorials note that EFCA would effectively strip workers of their right to a private and secret ballot in voting for the formation of a union. This loss of privacy in the workplace would undoubtedly lead to union intimidation and harassment.

Here is a list of the papers, a link to the editorial when available, and a brief snippet (there are some papers that have written multiple editorials against the bill):

Update: I’m going to keep updating this as I find new editorials.

  1. The Orange County Register – June 5, 2009

    This proposal deserves to fail. A secret-ballot election is the best way to minimize intimidation from either union or management. Eliminating it would open the door to possible abuses – and possibly lead to increased costs for businesses already struggling with the recession.

  2. Investor’s Business Daily – June 5, 2009

    Besides denying workers a right to a secret ballot, “card check,” as it’s known, also forces federal arbitration onto companies for union contracts, ensuring that either unions dictate the wages they want or a federal bureaucrat will step in and do it for them based on politics, not economics.

  3. The Wall Street Journal – May 28, 2009

    The binding arbitration rule would also strip workers of valuable rights. They would no longer be able to vote on a contract that their unions negotiated with management and submitted back for rank-and-file approval. This will make union leaders less accountable.

  4. Foster’s Daily Democrat – May 21, 2009

    The Employee Free Choice Act is one such bill. Truth be told, it is anything but warm and fuzzy. It is downright dangerous — to both those who support unions and oppose them.

  5. Investor’s Business Daily – May 14, 2009

    Forcing workers to go public in making their decision about belonging to a union via the signing of a card would mean that pro-union fellow employees, whom they must deal with every day, would have endless opportunities to demonstrate their resentment.

  6. Augusta Chronicle – May 11, 2009

    Workers would be asked to sign the card knowing that union organizers — who haven’t always had a glistening reputation — will know whether they signed or not.

    That’s free choice?

  7. Columbian – May 8, 2009

    This foot-dragging by the Obama Administration — which could lead to a gutting of key disclosure regulations affecting labor unions — is the second misstep by the new president in the area of labor. The first was his embracing the controversial and blatantly misnamed Employee Free Choice Act. As we have editorialized, this act would strip union members of their right to a secret ballot.

  8. Evansville Courier-Press – April 19, 2009

    Seeking compromise is often a useful tool in making law, but on this particular question, we don’t believe it can be done.

    Either you support open card signing, where everyone knows what every employee decided, or you support a secret ballot, which removes fear and intimidation from the process.

  9. The Town Talk – April 10, 2009

    In a secret ballot, your vote is yours and no one else’s. When someone is standing in front of you, waiting for you to check a box and hand over the card, all kinds of things can happen. That includes feeling pressure to vote to unionize because of worries about what might happen if one is seen checking the “wrong” box.

    That is not free choice.

  10. The Free Lance-Star – April 8, 2009

    Workers deserve protection from both organizers’ and employers’ strong-arming. Virginia Sens. Webb and Warner could usefully forge a compromise tolerable to every fair-minded American. Nothing’s fair about card check.

  11. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – April 6, 2009

    …more than 50 chambers across the state have come out against this power grab. They need to be supported by all of us who are still attached to some basic principles in a free society. Like the secret ballot and the right to bargain freely.

  12. The Saginaw News – April 6, 2009

    In a world teeming with cutthroat industry executives, workers deserve the right to make a decent living with strong, fairly chosen union representation. And businesses deserve the right to conduct their business without unfair, burdensome and confrontational legal barriers.

  13. Grand Rapids Press – April 5, 2009

    If the union case is so strong, it should be made fairly and in a manner that protects worker privacy. With this legislation, the union label is obvious and conspicuous. The Employee Free Choice Act is the wrong choice for the country and its lawmakers.

  14. The Virginian-Pilot – April 4, 2009

    Forced arbitration by a federal official thoroughly unfamiliar with local circumstances is simply unnecessary and potentially dangerous.

  15. St. Paul Pioneer Press – April 4, 2009

    The effective elimination of the secret ballot, as we see it, is indefensible.

  16. The Columbus Dispatch – March 30, 2009

    The absurdly named Employee Free Choice Act is bad for business and bad for workers, who should look beyond labor leaders’ talking points to discern for themselves the risks of this misguided idea.

  17. The Roanoke Times – March 30, 2009

    It is difficult to imagine a compromise that could salvage this legislation. The two major provisions are simply unacceptable. A union should not be able to form without a secret election verifying that employees actually want collective bargaining. Mandatory arbitration needlessly inserts a third party into the bargaining process and would take away incentives for management and labor to work to find common ground.

  18. Chico Enterprise-Record – March 30, 2009

    Unions have thrown millions of dollars into getting the proposal passed. But we oppose this bill, as it not only undercuts the rights of workers but threatens the economy.

  19. Tuscaloosa News – March 30, 2009

    How anyone can argue against a secret ballot is hard to understand. Allowing people to make their decisions in private, answering only to their own conscience, is the best way to get an accurate reflection of opinions.

  20. Los Angeles Times – March 29, 2009

    There is no doubt that card check — in which union organizers try to persuade more than half the workers to sign cards or petitions selecting a particular union as their representative — favors unions. It becomes common knowledge which workers have signed and which have not. Organizers can canvass the holdouts and target those most likely to succumb to union campaigning or peer pressure. But it is the workers’ power to select a union that we’re trying to protect, not the union’s power to organize employees.

  21. Daily Breeze – March 29, 2009

    One of the most contentious issues in Washington, the deceptively labeled Employee Free Choice Act, needs to vanish. It’s already hemorrhaging support as moderate senators have begun to voice their opposition.

  22. The Item (SC) – March 29, 2009

    Union membership has dropped precipitously in the past 25 years…There’s a reason for that. The management and owners of businesses and industries aren’t stupid. They understand full well that fairly-paid employees with good benefits in a pleasant workplace environment is good for morale and productivity. Most well-run businesses and industries are committed to worker satisfaction in order to avoid the intrusive and divisive presence of a union.

  23. Salem News (OH) – March 27, 2009

    Members of Congress who truly want free choice for workers should vote against the dishonestly titled Employee Free Choice Act. They should stand with McGovern – for what is right.

  24. Press-Telegram (CA) – March 26, 2009

    Labor, after its impressive fundraising for the Democratic Party, must feel emboldened. But if unions truly believe in their cause, they wouldn’t need to eliminate fair elections. And states certainly don’t need mandatory government intrusion into private labor disputes.

  25. High Point Enterprise – March 26, 2009

    Unfortunately, union leaders and their massive political donations have helped elect many members of Congress who are ready to tilt the law to give union organizers an unfair, undemocratic advantage.

  26. The Messenger (IA) – March 26, 2009

    This bill is bad for America
    A threat to democracy at a very basic level – in the workplace – has resurfaced in Congress. It is the Employee Free Choice Act, an inappropriately named bill if ever there was one.

  27. The Denver Post – March 26, 2009

    Not only is this practice unreasonable and potentially rife for intimidation, there are no regulations or safeguards to determine what authorization cards can look like or say — not the language nor the size of the small print on the card. The card only needs to contain a single ambiguous line somewhere on it that authorizes a union to represent the worker.

  28. The Free Lance-Star – March 25, 2009

    “Since when is the secret ballot a basic tenet of democracy?” Teamsters President James Hoffa recently thundered. Well…
    Since the early 1800s, when the London Working Men’s Association demanded that “the suffrage, to be exempt from the corruption of the wealthy and the violence of the powerful, must be secret.”

  29. High Point Enterprise – March 24, 2009

    But the issue is employee privacy- the unencumbered right to a secret ballot – because privacy in voting equals freedom.

  30. The Daily Record (CO) – March 23, 2009

    The proposed law would enforce a 120-day deadline for a first contract to be agreed upon, and if an agreement isn’t reached, then the federal government would be required to step in to order the first contract, which would be in place for two years…these first agreements are likely to be economically unsound and could result in failure of the company and loss of jobs.

  31. New Orleans City Business – March 23, 2009

    And while life and property are not at risk, the EFCA does threaten the fabric of business in America. In no uncertain terms, the EFCA is bad for business.

  32. Wheeling News-Register – March 22, 2009

    The distinguished public servant is right. Members of Congress who truly want free choice for workers should vote against the dishonestly titled Employee Free Choice Act. They should stand with McGovern – for what is right.

  33. Wall Street Journal – March 20, 2009

    Labor groups claim that membership is down because companies sack pro-union employees and threaten to shut down if workers organize. But the National Labor Relations Board, which fields these complaints, rejects almost all of the allegations after inspection. In 2005, for example, the NLRB found evidence of illegal firings in only 2.7% of the organizing election campaigns that took place that year.

  34. Pittsburgh Tribune Review – March 20, 2009

    Contrary to unions defending the indefensible, the Employee Free Choice Act is no “win” for American workers — not when government’s intrusion handicaps business growth and, with it, the very jobs so desperately needed in these recessionary times.

  35. Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal – March 20, 2009

    The attempt to enact the so-called “card check” law is an unvarnished attempt by labor unions to grow their diminishing membership rolls and take an undemocratic shortcut to power in the workplace.

  36. Porterville Recorder – March 18, 2009

    The mandatory arbitration provision is, if anything, more pernicious. It could make private bargaining a waste of time, as one side or the other could hold out long enough to bring the feds in. An arbitration panel would have virtually unlimited power to dictate terms, thus making the government rather than management and employees the ultimate “decider.”

  37. Newark Advocate – March 17, 2009

    [T]he legislation amounts to fixing something that’s not broken and tilting a currently level playing field in favor of labor.

  38. Wall Street Journal – March 16, 2009

    The larger union economic model here is Europe, where organized labor first led the charge to build welfare states…consider that the Europeans have spent the past two decades struggling to wean themselves off entitlements that are a huge drain on the overall economy. These welfare states leech off the productive parts of the economy through onerous taxes, debt and regulations.

  39. Augusta Chronicle – March 16, 2009

    The president and his friends in Congress need to make a decision. They can’t claim to be pro-jobs while pushing a bill that is anti-business. Or perhaps they don’t know where jobs come from?

  40. The Eagle-Tribune – March 15, 2009

    It’s outrageous that senators and representatives would deny workers the same protections of secret ballot elections that put them in office. Would any of them stand for being removed from office based solely on cards collected in favor of an opponent? Of course not.

  41. Pittsburgh Tribune Review – March 11, 2009

    Well, well, well, Specter will have a chance to prove that as the floor debate bows over the deceptively titled Employee Free Choice Act. It effectively ends secret ballots in union organizing and is guaranteed to inflate employer costs and reduce jobs.

  42. The Daily Press – March 11, 2009

    As with so many pieces of legislation in an age of public relations double-speak, the bill labor is pushing is coyly styled the Employee Free Choice Act. But free choice is what it would take away from employees, by substituting “authorization cards” for secret ballots.

  43. Globe Gazette – March 11, 2009

    The Employee Free Choice Act puts unions on a blindingly fast track for organizing work places with a process that, by design, bypasses employee discussion, formal debate and the right of each worker to cast his or her own ballot on union representation.

  44. The D.C. Examiner – March 10, 2009

    If you think General Motors and Chrysler are models of the unionized workplace, you will no doubt cheer news that Card Check – known to union bosses and prostrate lawmakers by its sachrinely official name, the Employee Free Choice Act – was formally introduced in Congress Tuesday by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-IA, and Rep. George Miller, D-CA. Harkin, Miller and their union overseers want to kill the secret ballot in workplace representation elections.

  45. The Florida Times-Union – March 10, 2009

    Card checks would be public, thus exposing workers to pressure from both sides. As it now stands, a worker may sign a card to allow an election and then vote his conscience in private.

    Card check makes an employee’s wishes public, thus becoming an invitation for intimidation.

  46. The Morning Call – March 10, 2009

    Even if the economy were not in a nasty recession, taking away a worker’s right to a private vote and imposing mandatory contract arbitration on businesses are out of harmony with our democratic and economic systems.

  47. The Arizona Republic – March 10, 2009

    Something will have to give. And the first item on the costly list that the president should ratchet back is passage of the ill-named Employee Free Choice Act.

    The EFCA, or “card check” legislation, may be a boon to the union supporters who spent $450 million in behalf of Democrats in the past election cycle. But it will constitute a crushing burden to the economy – just when businesses start crawling out of the shell hole of the recession.

  48. The Coloradoan – March 8, 2009

    We can see no logical reason for such a change. Certainly, there should be no roadblocks put forth to prevent a unionization question. But ensuring workers a right to privacy when voting is not a roadblock – it’s a route to a free and fair consideration.

  49. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – March 7, 2009

    But the solution isn’t taking away workers’ rights to choose by secret ballot. That is attacking the solution, not the problem. Unions actually are winning more elections lately. In 2008, unions won 67.4% of federally supervised elections, according to statistics compiled by the Bureau of National Affairs Inc., a specialized publishing firm. That compares with a 60.9% win rate in 2007.

  50. Daily Herald – March 7, 2009

    Locally, the potential impact on small business owners is significant. It’s the wrong time to expose struggling entrepreneurs to more demands. They drive the interconnected system that will lead our economy back to health.

  51. Las Vegas Review-Journal – March 6, 2009

    Officially known by the considerably cynical moniker “Employee Free Choice Act,” the idea is to effectively get rid of secret-ballot elections to determine whether a majority of workers in any given workplace want to be represented by a union.

  52. The Tribune-Democrat – March 4, 2009

    Known as the “card-check” bill, the “Employee Free Choice Act” – if passed – would eliminate the practice of secret ballots for employees at companies where unionization is in the works. Currently, workers can cast secret ballots concerning whether they wish to unionize.

  53. The Daily Breeze – March 2, 2009

    This is not a fight that the bipartisan-minded president should invite at this time. That’s one reason why it would be beneficial for Obama and Solis to hold off on card check. Besides, we’re not convinced the need for easier union access should be on the front burner, not in today’s difficult economic climate and when jobs are disappearing at alarming

  54. Sun Sentinel – March 2, 2009

    The deceptively-named “Employee Free Choice Act” would allow a union to claim certification if a simple majority of workers signs the card — thus dispensing with the secret vote.

    Doing so would open the door for a lot of coercion and intimidation, in the workplace, in homes. Theoretically, a union could gain certification without every employee, or management, knowing about it.

  55. The News & Advance – March 1, 2009

    It’s not a hard choice, gentlemen: Do you support the right of an American worker to decide, in secret and in private, whether he wants to be represented by a labor union on the job? Yes or no? And no dodging the question.

  56. San Gabriel Valley Tribune – February 28, 2009

    This is not a fight that the bipartisan-minded president should invite at this time. That’s one reason why it would be beneficial for Obama and Solis to hold off on card check. Besides, we’re not convinced the need for easier union access is on the front burner, not in today’s difficult economic climate and when jobs are disappearing at alarming rates.

  57. Augusta Chronicle – February 28, 2009

    Democrats in Congress will soon have a clear-cut choice: Vote for what’s best for the country, or cast a vote to please Big Labor.

  58. The Express-Times – February 27, 2009

    The drawback is that the secret-ballot option on union affiliation would be pushed aside in favor of a card-check process, which could be overseen and witnessed by union officials.

    That opens the door for increased intimidation by union reps and organizers, and it’s the wrong way to counter what labor officials say is an unbalanced playing field, in which employers work behind the scenes to coerce employees to vote “no” on unionizing.

  59. The Greenville News – February 26, 2009

    An employee asked by a union organizer to sign a union authorization card almost certainly would feel pressured to sign. That coercion would come from union organizers and from other employees who would be able to know exactly who has signed a pledge card and who has refused.On the other hand, a worker casting a secret ballot without the presence of either company or union officials would be free to vote his conscience, providing a truer result of worker sentiment regarding organization.

  60. The Free Lance-Star – February 25, 2009

    The EFCA’s card-check provision would revoke that safeguard against worker intimidation, in effect allowing the establishment of unions everywhere without a vote.

  61. The D.C. Examiner – February 23, 2009

    Current law allows for workers to have a federally supervised election with secret ballots whenever there is a dispute over union affiliation. This confidentiality would no longer be available should the “card check bill” become law, since union bosses would be in control of the process and would know who signed and did not sign.

    That’s when the intimidation and the coercion begins.

  62. Richmond Times-Dispatch – February 22, 2009

    He’s right. The last thing Virginia — or any state — needs now is a monkeywrench the size of card check sticking in the economy’s gears. The November gubernatorial election remains several months away, but on at least this issue the contrast between the candidates could not be more stark.

  63. The Orlando Sentinel – February 21, 2009

    Workers deserve to make the choice on union membership through a free and fair process. This bill would ensure neither.

  64. Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram – February 20, 2009

    If the labor movement can muscle the absurdly titled Employee Free Choice Act through Congress, President Obama will likely sign it, given the role that unions played in his election. But already, Obama is talking about finding a better way to deal with the concerns of union organizers than this one-sided bill — and for good reason.

  65. The News & Observer – February 18, 2009

    Still, card check is controversial. Hagan is surely entitled to vote for the bill — she supported it in beating Dole — but any change that would seem to take away the right to a secret ballot is bound to be a hard sell. If a company’s work-force is going to take the major step of unionizing, even in a right-to-work state such as ours, why not do it the same way we vote at the polls?

  66. The Waco Tribune-Herald – February 14, 2009

    Union officials say the bill wouldn’t require secret ballots on whether to unionize, only that a majority of employees sign a card indicating a willingness to join a union. Problem is, it could well be done as union officials look on.

    That’s intimidation.

  67. Chattanooga Times Free Press – February 8, 2009

    It’s also a good reason why Congress should not pass a bill that would undermine employees’ right to vote by secret ballot on whether to unionize their workplaces. The purposely misnamed “Employee Free Choice Act” would deny the free choice of secret ballots, and should be rejected.

  68. The Lewiston Morning Tribune (Idaho) – February 8, 2009

    Opponents argue that abandoning the existing requirement for secret-ballot voting would permit labor activists to coerce workers into signing the cards, and that secret-ballot elections are the fairest means of democratic decision making. They are right.

  69. Las Vegas Review-Journal – February 8, 2009

    The bill is the Holy Grail for labor bosses because it would allow them to organize workplaces simply by strong-arming enough worker signatures rather than having to deal with such pesky distractions as a secret ballot election.

  70. Charleston Daily Mail – February 6, 2009

    The act is also known as the “card check” bill. It would allow unions to organize workplaces by pressuring workers to sign cards.

    Should congressmen and senators pass the bill, workers could find themselves represented by a union without ever having a chance to vote on it.

  71. Investor’s Business Daily – February 5, 2009

    Unions want card check for obvious reasons of self-interest. But they have a much tougher time explaining why it’s in the nation’s interest to grant their wish. The last thing this economy needs is the drag of strikes, and the historical record shows that you get more strikes if you increase the size and power of unions. Maybe this is why the unions fall back on the myth that they created the middle class.

  72. The San Diego Union-Tribune – February 2, 2009

    Never mind that the U.S. Supreme Court has deemed the card-check method “admittedly inferior to the election process.” Congressional Democrats want it now.

    Solis’ testimony so far implies, however, that this undemocratic horror is not on her front burner. With no bipartisan support, Obama has hinted it isn’t on his, either. Delaying its passage would at least delay its dire effects. Taking it off the stove would better serve the nation.

  73. The Greenville News – February 2, 2009

    In a day when businesses are competing with companies overseas that do not have the same regulatory requirements, this legislation would put businesses and workers at a competitive disadvantage, furthering the nation’s inability to compete.

    Congress must pass legislation that helps raise the nation’s productivity and potential for prosperity. EFCA clearly hurts the nation’s chances of doing just that.

  74. Grand Rapids Press -February 2, 2009

    Passing it would further damage any hope of bipartisanship as Mr. Obama looks to change the tone in Washington. Lawmakers on all sides should oppose the act as counterproductive and a poor substitute for current practice.

  75. Las Vegas Review-Journal – February 1, 2009

    In the words of Thomas Jefferson: “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.” Indeed, it is against federal law.

    Coming soon: the Employee Free Choice Act, which will would allow unions to organize without supplying notice to employers and without secret-ballot elections, and which would allow federal arbitrators to decide the terms of a two-year contract if a bargaining unit and employer cannot reach an agreement within 120 days.

  76. The Times Picayune (New Orleans) – January 31, 2009

    Unions argue that secret ballots favor employers. But nothing in a secret-ballot system prevents workers from voting to unionize. To the contrary, secret ballots protects workers’ privacy and shields them against pressure from both unions and employers. That’s real freedom of choice.

    Amazingly, this is not the only bad provision in the Free Choice Act. The bill would also stiffen penalties on employers for “unfair labor practices” but not on unions for doing the same. That’s patently unfair.

  77. The Washington Times – January 30, 2009

    Even liberal Democrat and ardent labor supporter George McGovern, the former presidential candidate, has staunchly opposed the imposition of collective bargaining relationships except through secret ballot election. Sen. McGovern called EFCA’s card-check provision “a disturbing and undemocratic overreach, not in the interest of either management or labor” and “counter to ideals that were once at the core of the labor movement.” He noted that “instead of providing a voice for the unheard, EFCA risks silencing those who would speak.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

  78. D.C. Examiner – January 28, 2009

    Fortunately, word is getting out about how bad this bill really is. It’s not just businessmen like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney who call the bill “calamitous.” Traditionally pro-labor Democrats such as former presidential candidate George McGovern and the Rev. Al Sharpton have spoken strongly against it. Both of Arkansas’ Democratic U.S. senators, Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln, have recently reversed course by making statements indicating zero enthusiasm for bringing it up for a vote. And a new poll by McLaughlin and Associates shows that even 74 percent of members of union households oppose the card check provision.

  79. The Business Review (Albany) – January 26, 2009

    And even when the prospect of economic depression threatens to change the dynamics, we have seen how unwilling unions are to reconsider contracts negotiated at the height of a bubble, even in order to balance a budget or save a company.

  80. Las Vegas Review-Journal – January 26, 2009

    But in this economic climate, with each week producing a new empty parking lot with plywood on the windows, do the geniuses in Washington really mean to create a situation where business owners already struggling to stay afloat can without warning be handed their “last straw” — a stack of cards adorned with the message, “You’re now a union shop; here are our demands”?

  81. Danville Register & Bee – January 25, 2009

    Labor unions have been pushing for a change that could make it much easier to organize companies by making life much harder for individual workers. Called the Employee Free Choice Act, it would do away with the secret-ballot elections held at companies where a certain percentage of the workers have expressed an interest in forming a union.

  82. The Provo Daily Herald – January 25, 2009

    Union leaders claim that secret ballots are unfair because companies can compel workers to listen to anti-union information and otherwise manipulate them. It is alleged that companies even threaten people in forced meetings.

    This simply doesn’t hold water. If companies were to stray beyond the simple presentation of facts into intimidation, they would be instantly slapped with unfair labor practice charges. Not that manipulation can’t happen, but it’s in just 3 percent of cases, according to independent government data.

    By contrast, unions are not prohibited from pressuring employees in a multitude of ways, including handing out unsubstantiated or even false information.

  83. Spartanburg Herald – Journal – January 22, 2009

    Unions are supposed to exist to fight for workers’ rights. Democratic lawmakers continually assert that they represent workers. But the unions and their Democratic allies in Congress are trying to take rights from workers.

  84. Richmond Times – Dispatch – January 17, 2009

    Card check campaigns would be authorized for unions through the Employee Free Choice Act. The measure effectively would eliminate the secret ballot in union campaigns by allowing organizers to pressure workers to sign union pledge cards. As soon as 50 percent plus one of a company work force signed cards, the employer would be required to recognize and bargain with the union.

  85. Opelika-Auburn News – January 16, 2009

    No. The cards voting for or against a union aren’t part of a secret ballot. It’s very conceivable that workers will know where their fellow co-workers stand and some could very well be subject to pressure and harassment. Open ballots are simply un-American. People should not be bullied into voting “yes” or “no” for anything. This is a democratic society in which every person should be entitled to having his vote counted without being subjected to ridicule.

  86. The Paducah Sun – January 8, 2009

    Card check won’t ever become more popular. Even union members find something patently unfair and un-American about depriving workers of the right to a secret ballot on whether to unionize. Disingenuous labor leaders say the law is necessary to prevent business from intimidating workers. How can workers whose vote is secret face more intimidation than workers whose vote — for the union — is public?

  87. Harrisonburg Daily News Record – January 8, 2009

    IT’S NO SECRET that Big Labor is demanding somewhat more than the standard pound of flesh after throwing its heft behind not only President-elect
    Obama but most Democratic candidates this past election. And the “pound” they desire is specifically titled the Employee Free Choice Act, the noxiously ill-named measure that would remove the secret ballot from the process of union organization.

    Therein lies yet another reason for lawmakers’ new-found reticence on the EFCA. Rather than offer token resistance once hearings are held on the bill atop Capitol Hill, the business community has unified early — and at the grass-roots level — to oppose the legislation. The proposal, thereby, did not fly under the radar, undetected by the general populace.

  88. Investor’s Business Daily – January 7, 2009

    Despite its noble-sounding name, the legislation won’t expand freedom. The bill could be more accurately called the card check act, for it has nothing to do with free choice.

    Quite the contrary, it seeks to reverse unions’ waning influence by eliminating the secret ballots that workers historically used to organize in a federally supervised election.

    Right now, the worker’s best friends are a few senators in the South and a handful of state lawmakers willing to stand up for freedom, privacy and the companies that fuel our prosperity by providing us with jobs and affordable goods.

  89. The Press-Enterprise – January 7, 2009

    Labor law should encourage fair treatment of workers and a safe work environment. Unions that want to organize a workplace have the right to try. But ultimately workers should decide for themselves – by casting a secret ballot in an election – whether to join the union cause.

  90. RIchmond Times-Dispatch – January 7, 2009

    The card check legislation, formally — and misleadingly — called the Employee Free Choice Act, threatens to rob American workers of the right to vote for unions by secret ballot.

  91. Denver Post – January 6, 2009

    We’re certain [newly appointed Senator Michael Bennet will] continue to push for reform of education and No Child Left Behind, which is good. But where will he stand on the Employee Free Choice Act, which takes away workers’ right for a private vote on unions? He has bucked the teachers union in Denver, but can he withstand the intense pressure from party leaders and labor interests inside the Beltway? We hope so.

  92. Lancaster New Era – January 5, 2009

    Besides making it easier for union leaders to bully employees into forming unions, the measure would strengthen unions’ hands by requiring mandatory arbitration and increasing penalties for companies that violate labor laws.

    Absent the freedom-to-bully provision, this legislation might have sounded like a good idea a few years ago.

    But now, with unionized U.S. automakers getting federal handouts to avoid bankruptcy, it’s time to think again about strengthening unions’ hands.

  93. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – January 4, 2009

    The “renaissance” that unions envision to stem three decades of declining membership is a recipe for certain economic disaster.

  94. St. Joseph News-Press – January 3, 2009

    Removing the provision allowing for an employer to ask for a secret ballot is so wrongheaded that even union-leaning men and women should see it as a sham and a power grab by union leadership, not something designed with their interests in mind.

  95. The Roanoke Times – December 31, 2008

    Congress appears ready to strip workers of their right to secret ballots before forming unions. There are principled reasons to oppose the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act, and then there is the strategy chosen by Virginia Del. Chris Saxman.

  96. The Birmingham News – December 30, 2008

    But even if the economy were smoking, the card-check bill is bad legislation. It would take away a worker’s right to vote in secret, making it more likely a worker could face intimidation from union organizers. Imagine a union leader asking a worker to sign the dotted while co-workers look on.

  97. The Oklahoman – December 29, 2008

    A first step [for incoming Sec. of Labor Solis] will be pushing the Employee Free Choice Act, also known as “card check.” It would eliminate the secret ballot in union certifying elections, making it easier for unions to organize non-union workplaces. Solis is an ardent supporter, as was the president-elect during the campaign.

  98. Orange County Register – December 26, 2008

    The issue labor unions are most concerned with just now is what is called the Employee Free Choice Act, also called card-check. This proposal would stipulate that if 50 percent plus one of a company’s employees signs a card saying they are interested in having a union represent them, then the union would be automatically certified. Under current law employers are permitted to ask for a secret ballot before a union is installed.

  99. Colorado Springs Gazette – December 26, 2008

    If card-check passes, as Solis will undoubtedly try to get done, then, a few more union leaders will have more dues-paying members and more money available for political activities, but we are unlikely to see a massive resurgence of unionization. Perhaps a little more money and a little more political power is all union leaders want, however. After all, consolidating and increasing their own power is becoming more important to union leaders than representing their members.

    Unfortunately, passage will result in employees having less free choice, while unions have less government oversight against corruption. That is hardly likely to spark much economic recovery.

  100. The Daily Press – December 26, 2008

    If card-check passes, as Ms. Solis will undoubtedly try to get done, then a few more union leaders will have more dues-paying members and more money available for political activities. Unfortunately, passage will result in employees having less free choice, while unions have less government oversight against corruption. That is hardly likely to spark much economic recovery.

  101. The Patriot-News – Friday, December 26, 2008

    Secret ballots are a fabric of democracy and the best way to ensure a voter has complete privacy to make the choice of his or her conscience.

    A more suitable name for this would be the “Employee No Freedom of Choice Act.”

  102. San Antonio Express-News – December 24, 2008

    If there were a prize for misrepresenting the purpose of a piece of legislation, it would surely go to the authors of the Employee Free Choice Act.

    As political oxymorons go, this is about as bad as it gets. And it will be high on the agenda of Democratic leaders when the 111th Congress convenes next month.

    The act would allow labor unions to organize local collective bargaining committees without winning a majority of worker votes in a secret ballot. Under the current system, union and management representatives make their cases to workers, who then express their preference in the privacy of the ballot box.

  103. The Charleston Daily Mail – December 23, 2008

    Unions want several changes in federal law, including the end of the secret ballot in union elections, and relaxed reporting of union expenditures.

    The first would expose workers to pressure and intimidation from union organizers and co-workers. No worker wants or deserves that.

  104. Richmond Times-Dispatch – December 21, 2008

    The comically named Employee Free Choice Act, more popularly known as the card check bill, would essentially eliminate the secret ballot from union organizing elections and force companies to accept the unions’ most outlandish demands when negotiating workplace contracts. It would open workers to blatant intimidation by union partisans…

  105. Wisconsin State Journal – Monday, December 8, 2008

    “The bill is promoted as a reform of labor laws that discriminate against union organizing…But taking away the secret ballot is deform, not reform.”

  106. Telegram & Gazette – Sunday, November 23, 2008

    “American workers have enjoyed the right to secret ballots in union elections since the 1930s, and poll after poll show that rank-and-file workers overwhelmingly support that right. Contrary to union claims, harassment of workers by management is extremely rare. In 2005, for example, the National Labor Relations Board found evidence of illegal firings in just 2.7 percent of union campaigns – largely due, no doubt, to the fact that workers had the protection of the secret ballot.”

  107. The Pueblo Chieftain – Sunday, November 23, 2008

    “Under the “Free Choice Act,” there would be no secret balloting. Union officials could get workers to sign up through peer pressure. Those workers who, for whatever reason, believe their best interests would not be served by being forced to join a union would in reality have that right taken away from them.

    We in this nation believe in the sanctity of the voting booth when voting for our public officials and on ballot questions. This sanctity should be protected in the workplace as well.”

  108. The Washington Times – Friday, November 21, 2008

    “Card check won’t do anything to fix the economy, and the reality is most unions are created through the secret ballot process, not because the employer objected to the card check but because union members prefer the outright legitimacy of the NLRB election.”

  109. Birmingham News – Monday, November 17, 2008

    “Imagine a colleague coming up, sticking a card in your face and telling you to sign it. Colleagues gather around, to watch what you do. Voting a secret ballot gives a worker a chance to vote his conscience; being forced to make a decision about signing a card in front of friends and co-workers is another thing altogether. A few disgruntled workers could drastically change not only the workplace, but the landscape across the state for attracting new industry and businesses.”

  110. Mobile Press-Register – Monday, November 17, 2008

    “Let’s hope Obama abandons his support of the Employee (not-so-) Free Choice Act. With the current economic environment, this isn’t the time to make our state’s automobile-manufacturing industry more jittery.”

  111. The Examiner – Friday, November 14, 2008

    “Why take away their right to choose for themselves whether unions are beneficial? “Card check” is a threat both to workplace democracy and to job creation. It ought to be permanently abandoned.”

  112. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – Thursday, November 13, 2008

    “For the moment, if a union wants to get a bunch of new dues-paying members, it can hold an election among the employees of a company. Complete with a secret ballot. But if the unions get their way with this card-check idea, and they just might, they’d only have to gather a certain amount of signatures on a card.”

  113. Charleston Daily Mail – Friday, November 7, 2008

    “Workers know what they want, and when they want unions, they get them. The current system is not broken.”

  114. Tampa Tribune – Friday, November 7, 2008

    “But labor does a disservice to those it would represent by using this time of economic uncertainty to strengthen its hand. Workers can ask for union representation if they want it, but unions should not be permitted to pressure workers to join against their will.”

  115. Moline Dispatch and Rock Island Argus – Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    “It would replace it with a so-called “card check” in which unionization occurs when half the workers sign cards saying they favor union representation. That is not the democratic way and opens the door for wide-spread intimidation and even fraud. It must be changed.”

  116. New Hampshire Union Leader – Wednesday, October 8, 2008

    “Imagine if this same logic were applied to all elections. What if campaign workers carrying clipboards that list your name, address, place of employment, children’s schools, etc., were allowed to corner you at work or on your front porch or as you’re dropping off your kids and pressure you to publicly sign a card expressing your choice for governor or Congress or President? “

  117. Boston Herald – Wednesday, September 3, 2008

    “And heaven help the politician who ends up on the wrong side of this issue. At least one union has resorted to thuggish threats. At the Democratic National Convention last week, the head of the Service Employees International Union told The Associated Press that any Democrat or Republican who reneged on support for “free choice” would “paint a target” on their backs this election season. Threats and intimidation. Not exactly the change we’ve been waiting for.”

  118. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – Monday, September 1, 2008

    “But individuals often will sign cards under intentional or unintentional misunderstandings or to get the organizer to stop harassing them — even though the employees may have no desire to join a union.”

  119. Minneapolis Star-Tribune – Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    “But the EFCA has the potential to do more harm than good. Its provision allowing unions to bypass a secret ballot with something called a card check is a serious problem… Even if you agree there’s an imbalance of power, doing away with the secret ballot isn’t the solution. Unions exert a great deal of influence over members. They have the ability to tax through dues. They negotiate workplace rules that govern a big chunk of members’ lives. The organizing process should be as democratic as possible. That means honoring the secret ballot, not doing away with it.”

  120. The Columbian – Monday, August 25, 2008

    “Organized labor has a role to play in some industries. But it must find other ways than intimidation and false advertising to gather support. Union membership has fallen from 20 percent of the work force in the 1980s to 12 percent today.”

  121. Grand Rapids Press – Sunday, August 24, 2008

    “The proposed law would do away with employee secret ballots in union organizing drives, a fundamentally anti-democratic step for a supposedly democratic country….

    Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Mr. McGovern decried the Employee Free Choice Act as running “counter to ideals that were once at the core of the labor movement. Instead of providing a voice for the unheard, EFCA risks silencing those who would speak.”

    That would be a travesty, one members of the next Congress — and the next president — should soundly reject. “

  122. Richmond Times-Dispatch – Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    “American businesses and workers will suffer if one of the most fundamental rights in a free-enterprise democracy is destroyed to please union bosses frustrated by their declining clout.”

  123. Harrisburg Daily News-Record – Monday, August 18, 2008

    “Called the “card-check bill,” it would effectively deprive workers of the right to decide whether or not they want a union by secret ballot. Instead, such a measure would allow laborers at a workplace to organize if a majority check a box on a card for that purpose.”

  124. Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune – Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    “It isn’t difficult to see how easy it would be for aggressive union organizers to cajole or even threaten workers, one by one, into signing union cards. There would be nothing private about the process. Nor would there be any secret ballot election and no oversight.”

  125. Bend Bulletin – Monday, June 16, 2008

    “But effectively ending the secret ballot is what some unions are pushing for when it comes to elections to form unions. Funny, we thought unions wanted to protect worker freedoms.”

  126. Visalia Times Delta – Thursday, October 18, 2007

    “If the principles of democracy are true in a given enterprise, it need not fear the secret ballot. People will always vote in their self-interest when they have no fear of reprisal.”

  127. The Denver Post – Sunday, July 15, 2007

    “So HR 800 would allow workers to be forced into unions without even the right to vote – and could force workers and employers to accept a government-written contract after just 120 days of negotiations.

    This is a radical departure from collective bargaining rules that have worked well since the New Deal.”

  128. Paducah Sun – Sunday, July 1, 2007

    “In a desperate but ill-advised attempt to reverse the slide, unions pushed the preposterously misnamed Employee Free Choice Act. Fortunately, the measure failed in the Senate, on a party-line vote. The House had previously passed the bill 241-185.”

  129. Las Vegas Review Journal – Wednesday, June 27, 2007

    “Democrats’ opposition to secret ballots in union elections is curious considering the party used just such a process to select its leaders at the beginning of this year’s session.
    And it’s even more puzzling based on their January introduction of a bill that outlined U.S. government support for building democracies abroad through “the right to free, fair, and open elections, secret balloting, and universal suffrage.”

  130. The Rocky Mountain News – Thursday, June 21, 2007

    “H.R. 800 is clearly repayment by congressional Democrats to the unions that provided so much support to candidates during the 2006 election.”

  131. Chicago Sun-Times – Thursday, June 21, 2007

    “And how do the unions, and union-backed supporters of the egregious Employee Free Choice Act…propose to protect workers from intimidation and harassment? By overturning employees’ right to secret ballots in deciding whether to unionize and replacing that long-ingrained feature of American democracy with a “card check” method by which union organizers collect signatures on cards in public and every employee’s choice would be known.”

  132. Portland Press-Herald – Thursday, June 21, 2007

    “Allowing workers to form unions by signing petitions or union cards, rather than by secret ballot, invites coercion. Also, keeping the secret ballot will force organizers to convince the maximum number of employees of the benefit of union membership. The more members on the union’s rolls, the greater its clout at the bargaining table…

    Nevertheless, it would be poor public policy to let unions increase their numbers by depriving rank-and-file members of the chance to cast their ballot, without fear of reprisal or peer pressure.”

  133. Cleveland Plain Dealer – Tuesday, March 27, 2007

    “The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee today takes up one of the new Democratic majority’s pet projects: the Employee Free Choice Act. It’s a misguided approach to providing reasonable protection to workers who want to bargain collectively with their employers…

    The secret ballot process was enshrined in law decades ago at labor’s insistence. But now, as the percentage of private-sector unions dwindles, labor wants new rules.”

  134. Janesville Gazette – Friday, March 16, 2007

    “So you meet at a tavern, only to wind up talking with a union representative. Your fellow workers want you to sign a check card authorizing a union. You have a knot in your stomach. You’d like more information. Come on, your coworkers urge you, and finally you succumb.”

  135. The Washington Post – Monday, March 12, 2007

    The so-called card-check arrangement would give labor too much power to spring unions on employers. Employers who don’t want to see their workers organize deserve a chance to make that case to employees in advance of the decision…

    The ability of employees to organize — indeed, even the prospect that they could do so — is a critical component of achieving fairness in the workplace, and it is a core democratic right. Labor and its legislative allies would do better to concentrate on finding practical ways to protect it, rather than seeking a politically unachievable, and substantively unwise, result.

  136. Wall Street Journal – Thursday, March 8, 2007

    “Big Labor’s problem is not that Americans aren’t free to organize but that more and more are choosing not to. “

  137. Hartford Courant – Wednesday, March 7, 2007

    “The request to organize doesn’t even have to originate with the workers, whose paychecks would be tapped for dues. And there’s a high potential for unduly coercive tactics as unions try to get workers to sign the cards.”

  138. Chicago Tribune – Tuesday, March 6, 2007

    “The status quo doesn’t necessarily assure that worker preferences will prevail in the end. But neither does throwing out secret-ballot elections. The real goal of any legislation should be to establish a process that gives each side the chance to make its case to employees–and then assures that their choice is implemented.”

  139. The Augusta Chronicle – Monday, March 5, 2007

    “Peer pressure. Fear. A mob mentality. That’s the climate that could descend on American workers if the Democratic Congress is able to eliminate the secret ballot in unionization votes.”

  140. Savannah Morning News – Monday, March 5, 2007

    “The tragically misnamed “Employee Free Choice Act,” does away with the secret ballot among workers considering joining a union. Instead, a majority of workers would simply have to sign a card in order for unions to take over collective bargaining for them.Union supporters cleverly claim this measure is needed to offset intimidation by employers seeking to thwart unionization.Of course, this argument ignores the changes in the workplace over the past 150 years.It also ignores the fact that an employee may act with impunity in an anonymous voting booth.”

  141. Morning Call – Monday, March 5, 2007

    “However, the solution this legislation proposes would replace one form of coercion with another. In doing so, it does away with one of democracy’s most hallowed tools to preserve freedom of choice — the secret ballot.”

  142. Buffalo News – Friday, March 2, 2007

    “But the most troubling aspect of the bill is its main thrust: The effort to kill the secret ballot. Union leaders say it is needed to counter management intimidation, but you can’t intimidate people for what they do in private.”

  143. Investor’s Business Daily – Friday, March 1, 2007

    “Beneath the lipstick, this pig is a clear payoff to the unions from congressional Democrats. With membership plunging — from 37% of the private work force in 1960 to 20.6% in 1980 to 7.4% last year — unions are desperate to save themselves. Democrats, whose party exists largely because of union donations in time and money, are willing accomplices, even if it means violating workers’ right to vote in secret, free of coercion.”

  144. Los Angeles Times – Thursday, March 1, 2007

    “Unions once supported the secret ballot for organization elections. They were right then and are wrong now. Unions have every right to a fair hearing, and the National Labor Relations Board should be more vigilant about attempts by employers to game the system. In the end, however, whether to unionize is up to the workers. A secret ballot ensures that their choice will be a free one.”

  145. The Republican – Thursday, March 1, 2007

    “If lawmakers support workers’ rights, they will vote against this bill.”

  146. The Charleston Gazette – Saturday, December 9, 2006

    “It would do away with secret ballots and require the National Labor Relations Board to certify the union if organizers submit cards publicly signed by a majority of employees at a firm.”

  147. Kansas City Star – Monday, September 25, 2006

    “Organized labor unfortunately wants to change the law to make it easier for unions to pressure workers into designating them as their exclusive bargaining agent.”

  148. Chattanooga Times Free Press – Monday, June 21, 2004

    “We would be furious if members of political parties were allowed to watch us vote for one candidate or another on Election Day. Why should a vote on unionization be any different?”

Categories: Center for Union FactsEFACEnding Secret BallotsNewsTeachers Unions